SINGAPORE, Apr 23 – As the world prepares to recognize Earth Day, CropLife Asia took the opportunity to herald the contributions being made through plant science technology to sustainable agriculture in the region and around the globe. Dr. Siang Hee Tan, Executive Director of CropLife Asia said earth Day is a time to take stock and recommit ourselves to practices that ensure good stewardship of the environment around us.
“As the number of people inhabiting our planet continues to grow, the challenges facing our farmers mount as well. We look to our farmers to grow more food with less land, water and resources – and with less impact on the environment. The innovations of plant science technology are helping make that possible and driving sustainable agriculture. But as the numbers tell us, there is much more work to be done.”
Along with our members in CropLife Asia, Tan added that they will remain steadfast in our commitment to farmers – not only to help them do more with less, but to be responsible stewards of the land. Estimates indicate that the world’s population is set to eclipse nine billion inhabitants by 2050.
In Asia, an additional one billion more people are projected to call the region home in that period; while ASEAN alone will see an expected increase of 60 million more men, women and children living in the region within the next decade. With the population growing, so too is the demand for food.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, growers around the world will need to produce as much as 70% more food than yesterday to meet the expected needs of our population in 2050. As farmers work to produce more food on existing farmland rather than cultivate wild habitats, the innovations of plant science technology are helping make that possible.
Without the aid of crop protection products and plant biotechnology, growers would have needed to cultivate an extra 506 million hectares of land (or roughly half the size of Australia) for farming since 1975. Additionally, it is estimated that 50% of the global food production would be lost to pests and diseases if not for crop protection products.
Meanwhile, biotech crops contributed greatly to the increase in production of food and feed worldwide while helping minimize impact to the environment. Between 1998 to 2014, the use of biotech crops helped conserve biodiversity by saving 152 million hectares of land. In 2014 alone, biotech crops helped reduce CO2 emissions by 2.7 billion kilograms – a feat akin to removing one million cars off the road for a year.